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OU Baseball salvages series with 14-2 win

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NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 25 Sooners avoided a series sweep at the hands of Washington State on Sunday with a convincing 14-2 win in the series finale at L. Dale Mitchell Park.  OU snapped a three-game skid and improved to 15-5 overall by pounding out 18 hits, while Washington State dropped to 13-5.

The Sooners finally received the perfect balance of offense and defense on Sunday after struggling to find timely hits in the first three games of the series.  Oklahoma fell behind 1-0 after the first inning but countered with two runs in the second and a six-run third inning to take control of the ball game.  OU finished the game with its fifth straight offensive performance of 10 or more hits and 13th overall this season.

The Sooners pounded out seven two-out RBIs and received a stellar performance on the mound from sophomore Andrew Doyle, who improved to 4-1.  The Rock Island, Ill., native struck out seven batters across seven innings and limited the Cougars to two runs off four hits and three walks.

"After losing three games and coming back and playing so well today, was really a maturing factor for our guys," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway.  "I thought today we were more patient at the plate.  We got pitches we could hit and got a solid performance out of Andrew Doyle on the mound."

The Cougars started off Sunday's contest in similar fashion to the first three games of the series by plating the game's first run.  John Desmarais led off the game with a double and after moving to third on a ground out, scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Paul Gran.

After a scoreless first inning, the OU offense plated two runs in its second trip to the plate.  Sophomore Spencer Selby hit his second homer of the series after leading off the second inning with a solo shot to left field, his fifth of the season.  After back-to-back walks were issued to freshman Tyson Seng and junior Matt Harughty, junior Trey Sperring gave OU a 2-1 lead on a single up the middle of the infield to plate Seng. 

In the third inning, the Sooners chased WSU starter James Wise out of the game after 2 1/3 innings of work. OU batted around the lineup in the third inning to plate six runs off six hits, including RBI singles from freshman Casey Johnson, Seng, senior Mike Gosse and a two-run double by Harughty.  Wise (0-1) gave up six earned runs off five hits and two walks.

Oklahoma added extra insurance later in the game with a run in the fifth inning and another in the sixth before tacking on four runs in the bottom of the seventh.    In the Sooners' seventh, sophomore Aaron Baker and senior Jarod Freeman connected for back-to-back two-run doubles.  For Baker, it marked RBI No. 16 in the last 13 contests after starting the first seven games of the season without a run driven in.

Selby and Harughty led OU with three hits apiece while Gosse, Baker, junior J.T. Wise, Seng and Sperring each had two base knocks.  Gosse, who leads OU with 23 RBIs, was one of four Sooners to drive in two runs in the game (Baker, Freeman and Harughty).

The OU bullpen capped off a successful weekend by pitching two scoreless innings to finish the finale.  Sophomore Garrett Richards pitched a spotless eighth inning and was followed by senior Jake McCarter's perfect ninth.  In 19 1/3 innings of relief against Washington State, the OU bullpen, consisting of six hurlers, allowed one earned run and struck out Cougars.

The Sooners return to action to play two midweek games prior to the start of Big 12 play.  OU will travel to Tampa, Fla., to battle South Florida on Tuesday, March 18 at (6 p.m. CT) and Wednesday, March 19 (6 p.m. CT).  Following the two-game set, Oklahoma will travel to Lincoln, Neb., to take on the Cornhuskers (14-2, 3-0), who swept Kansas State over the weekend.

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